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Planning Permission v Building Regulations

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When you decide to make alterations or additions to your property, you might find yourself wondering exactly what work requires planning permission, and what requires building regulation approval.

To make sure you don’t incur any penalties for carrying out unauthorised developments, we’ve put together this article to explain the differences between planning permission and building regulations.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is granted by your local council. It authorises the construction of a new structure or building, or major changes to existing buildings. Not every development will require planning permission. Internal changes may not need planning permission, for example, and some extensions such as conservatories can often be built without planning permission, either.

Planning permission is mainly focused on the impact that a proposed development might have on the surrounding environment. This can include aspects such as the effect on the character and appearance of the building and surrounding area, or logistical aspects such as access issues.

What are building regulations?

Unlike council-led planning permission, building regulations are determined by Parliament. Building regulations are in place to maintain a high standard of health and safety for all occupants. This includes properly accommodating for people with disabilities.

Building regulations are concerned with the fundamental structure and stability of the building. This isn’t simply restricted to the building materials and equipment used during construction, it also includes other aspects of construction, both internal and external. Electrical and fire safety, drainage and ventilation, accessibility, fall prevention and glazing safety/installation all fall under building regulations. A proposed building is legally required to meet all building regulation standards in order to be approved.

Which do I need to apply for?

Many developments aren’t always limited to either planning permission or building regulations approval; sometimes you require both.

Conversely, some projects may not require either. Typically, conservatories do not require planning permission or building regulation approval. This is as long as the proposed extension meets certain requirements. For a conservatory, the requirements are as follows:

  • Must be built at ground level
  • Have a floor area of less than 30 square metres
  • Have its own heating system with independent controls
  • Must be separated from the main house by walls, doors or windows
  • Glazing and electrics must be fitted and installed to all building regulation standards

For a conservatory, building regulations will be needed if a new opening has to be created in place of existing external walls.

It’s important to remember that every project is different. If you are unsure as to whether or not your development requires planning permission, building regulations, or both, contact your local authority.

The planning department of your local council will be your point of contact for planning permission, while Building Control are in charge of building regulations.

Windows Direct manufacture, supply and install conservatories for clients throughout PurleyKingston-upon-Thames, Sutton, Croydon and Surrey. We are with you every step of the way, from the initial planning and design stages through to efficient installation of your chosen conservatory. Our experienced team work diligently to create a conservatory perfectly suited to your needs, meeting all requirements and regulations. To find out more about our services, simply get in touch with us today.

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